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An automatic respiratory gating method for the improvement of microcirculation evaluation: application to contrast-enhanced ultrasound studies of focal liver lesions

Abstract : Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS), with the recent development of both contrast-specific imaging modalities and microbubble-based contrast agents, allows noninvasive quantification of microcirculation in vivo. Nevertheless, functional parameters obtained by modeling contrast uptake kinetics could be impaired by respiratory motion. Accordingly, we developed an automatic respiratory gating method and tested it on 35 CEUS hepatic datasets with focal lesions. Each dataset included fundamental mode and cadence contrast pulse sequencing (CPS) mode sequences acquired simultaneously. The developed method consisted in (1) the estimation of the respiratory kinetics as a linear combination of the first components provided by a principal components analysis constrained by a prior knowledge on the respiratory rate in the frequency domain, (2) the automated generation of two respiratory-gated subsequences from the CPS mode sequence by detecting end-of-inspiration and end-of-expiration phases from the respiratory kinetics. The fundamental mode enabled a more reliable estimation of the respiratory kinetics than the CPS mode. The k-means algorithm was applied on both the original CPS mode sequences and the respiratory-gated subsequences resulting in clustering maps and associated mean kinetics. Our respiratory gating process allowed better superimposition of manually drawn lesion contours on k-means clustering maps as well as substantial improvement of the quality of contrast uptake kinetics. While the quality of maps and kinetics was satisfactory in only 11/35 datasets before gating, it was satisfactory in 34/35 datasets after gating. Moreover, noise amplitude estimated within the delineated lesions was reduced from 62 ± 21 to 40 ± 10 (p < 0.01) after gating. These findings were supported by the low residual horizontal (0.44 ± 0.29 mm) and vertical (0.15 ± 0.16 mm) shifts found during manual motion correction of each respiratory-gated subsequence. The developed technique could be used as a basis for accurate quantification of perfusion parameters for the evaluation and follow-up of patients under antiangiogenic therapies.
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Submitted on : Friday, May 29, 2020 - 10:44:12 AM
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S. Mule, N. Kachenoura, O. Lucidarme, A. de Oliveira, C. Pellot-Barakat, et al.. An automatic respiratory gating method for the improvement of microcirculation evaluation: application to contrast-enhanced ultrasound studies of focal liver lesions. Physics in Medicine and Biology, IOP Publishing, 2011, 56 (16), pp.5153-5165. ⟨10.1088/0031-9155/56/16/005⟩. ⟨hal-02648927⟩

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